When BP and Shell won government approval to develop the Foinaven field, 100 miles west of the Shetland Islands, it marked the start of a new chapter in the history of the UK oil industry. “The future of Britain’s oil production moved into the deep and treacherous waters of the Atlantic yesterday,” proclaimed the front page of The Times in November 1994, which quoted the energy minister saying that the new oil province “should help guarantee oil supplies well into the next century”. With many other big projects developed in the area since, the Atlantic to the West of Shetland has indeed come to be a significant part of UK supplies, alongside the North Sea — but Foinaven’s role could now be over. After producing 390 million barrels of oil from the field, BP today called time on it, at least for now. It said that the floating production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) Petrojarl Foinaven, which has handled production from the field since the oil started to flow in late 1997, was “approaching the end of its 25-year design life” and that production had been suspended.
Times 15th April 2021 read more »